3 April 2014
Folking Around with Pig Earth at the Grey Horse (April 2014)
I have been going to the Open Mic nights at the Grey Horse (as a viewer, not a performer) for a while now. They are on every Wednesday and are a nice end to the evening if I am around. So it was a small step from there to go to Folkin Around which is also at the Grey Horse and is held on the first Thursday of the month.
I have known Craig Stratton for some years through our mutual membership of the British Czech and Slovak Association and I even bought his CD From the Homeland, a selection of romantic works by Czech composers for violin and piano. As well as his classical work, Craig also plays in a folk band called Pig Earth.
So when Pig Earth headlined Folking Around I had two reasons to be there.
I did not want a long night in the pub, especially as I had been there the day before for the Open Mic session, so I arrived around 9pm having been told by Craig that they would be on around 10pm. That meant that I caught Graham Russ and Dan Raza. They were pleasant enough but I do not know folk music at all so cannot comment on their styles.
Pig Earth were a very different proposition with five musicians making a fruity sound where, for example, the tinny squeaks of the mandolin and the throb of the double bass providing the textural extremes. Craig, on the far left, was the man on the mandolin, and fiddle and banjo.
They played mostly their own songs. The one cover that they threw in was Whiskey in the Jar and, to be honest, I felt that this was their weakest song. The rest were in a similar jolly mood but with a bit more variety and complexity.
Folk is not my sort of music, nor is Country, and still Pig Earth managed to entertain me for half an hour or so and turned what could have been just a duty or a habit in to a real pleasure. So much so that I expect both Pig Earth and Folking Around to be in my future plans.